Saturday, February 28, 2009

Unbuilt US 70/270 in Hot Springs

The following are excerpts from the 1962 Garland County map. First the Hot Springs inset:

Note the proposed US 70-270 relocation. It would have followed Grand Avenue west to a new alignment that would have crossed US 270 (now 270B) near Mission Street and met US 70 (now 70B) just east of the railroad tracks. It even shows up on the main Garland County map:

The relocation was never built, but a proper US 70/270 freeway bypass was built in stages during the 1990s and 2000s, with a proposed extension to the AR 5/7 intersection at Fountain Lake. The proposed relocation shown here would have made sense, avoiding a rather narrow section of Albert Pike Road and several sharp curves, along with the one-way section through Hot Springs. Easily the most dangerous part of the former 70-270 route in Hot Springs. WB 70/270 were later extended along Grand to Summer, while EB 70/270 stayed on the Hobson to 3rd route shown here. US 70B/270B follow those routes to this day. This relocation would have made a smooth transaction from 70 and 270 west to the boulevard-style Grand Avenue. But I'd still rather have the freeway bypass than this relocation.

Another relic of the former plans for US 70 through Hot Springs is the now US 70B freeway that runs near Magic Springs. It's odd having a 2 lane highway with alternating passing lanes split into a freeway mainline bypass and a freeway business route. But the 70B freeway provides a quick connection from the middle of Hot Springs to Little Rock and points beyond.

Special thanks to Geostor for the historic map images.

Proposed expressways of Camden

The map below is from the 1963 Ouachita County AHTD map. It shows a proposed system of expressways in the city of Camden:

Click for larger image(41 KB)

Some of these roads were built. The eastern portion of the US 79 expressway was built on a slightly different alignment and is a 4 lane expressway, complete with an awkward interchange with US 79B/US 278 (AR 4 was renumbered US 278 in the late 1990s) and more conventional interchanges at AR 7 and US 79 south but at-grades elsewhere. The AR 4/US 278 expressway was also built in a slightly different location than shown on the map. It was built with 2 lanes, but now about half of it has been upgraded to 4 lanes. The T intersection at US 278B/old US 278 is unfortunate, as WB traffic must stop and make a left hand turn to continue on the highway. US 278 has many stop signs in Arkansas.

The AR 7 expressway as shown on this map was never built. An AR 7 expressway was built on mostly new location from Camden to El Dorado, but it ties back into the old route just north of Tate. Existing AR 7 was upgraded to a surface arterial "expressway" north of this point to the US 79 expressway. The interesting part of this map is that it shows the relocated AR 7 extending all the way to downtown Camden. NOTE: the map legend labels the double-dotted line as "projected road" so any or all of these roads could possibly have been proposed as 2 lane surface roads.

Special thanks to Geostor for the historic map images.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Arkansas highway DA NR-1?

The following excerpt is a portion of the 1963 revision of the AHTD Ouachita County map.

The area to the south and east was once part of the Shumaker Naval Ammunition Depot. Note the oddly lettered highway running east from US 79. The highway in question is part of today's AR 205. I'm guessing "NR" stood for "Naval Reserve" or something similar. But what did "DA" stand for? How was this highway signed, if at all? And was there a DA NR-2? What's the story behind this oddity?

Special thanks to Geostor for the historic map images.